Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wash. School Coach Fired for Praying After Games

After a recent football game, Bremerton (Washington) High School assistant coach Joe Kennedy was praying on the 50-yard line at Silverdale Stadium when his job was unexpectedly threatened by an unknown critic who approached him, according to Bremerton athletic director Jeff Barton.  Now, the Bremerton School District is investigating for illicit praying on school grounds.
"I never asked anyone [to pray].  They just all showed up one day and the next thing I know, the other team was showing up with us."
-- Coach Joe Kennedy
UPDATE 12/15/15: Coach Kennedy Files Federal Complaint after School Dismisses Him (read latest articles below)

For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Mississippi Teacher Prayers for Students Illegal, Atheists Say

Atheists Threaten Georgia School for 'Football Baptisms'

Arizona Schools Ban Christian Football Coaches

Atheists Call for Ban of Christians from Schools in Michigan, West Virginia, Oklahoma, California, Florida, Ohio, etc.

California School Bans Books by Christian Authors

Colorado School Bans Jesus Talk During Free Time

Atheists Say Too Many Christians at Ohio School

And read Texas School Supt. Tells Atheists to Go Fly a Kite

-- From "Bremerton football coach investigated for post-game prayers" by Drew Mikkelsen and Heather Graf, KING-TV5 (Seattle, WA) 9/14/15

It's not yet clear what promoted the district investigation, but many in the stands at Monday's game assumed it came as the result of a complaint or concern about the separation of church and state.

Parents in the stands on Monday told KING 5 they've watched Kennedy pray after every game for years.  Some didn't seem to understand why it's all of a sudden become an issue.

The prayer Kennedy prayed after Monday's game lasted only about 13 seconds.

"I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, and it's been about protecting the freedom of other people," [Coach Kennedy] said.  "It's about the freedom, and people can believe whatever they want.  I'm just exercising my right.  The game is over, and I just thank god for every one of these young men that are out here."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Why is there NO outcry from atheists about overt indoctrination of Islam in public schools?

UPDATE 12/15/15: Bremerton coach explains why he’s filed a discrimination complaint against the school district (video:)

UPDATE 12/15/15: From "Coach Kennedy files official complaint against Bremerton School District" by Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun

Kennedy, an assistant football coach at Bremerton High School, was put on paid leave Oct. 28, just before a playoff game, for defying the district’s ban against prayer on the field.

On Tuesday, Kennedy said the district has declined to renew his contract.

Mike Berry, Kennedy’s attorney with the Liberty Institute, said Kennedy’s complaint with the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission], a federal agency, stems from the district’s prohibiting his “private” religious expression. The district has said that Kennedy is on duty until players are dismissed and that federal law and district policy prohibit school employees from engaging in religious activities with students present.

Berry said the district also discriminated when it barred Kennedy from games by putting him on paid leave. Berry said the nonrenewal of his contract was “retaliatory.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 12/15/15: From "High school football coach sues over suspension for Tebowing" by Reuters

Kennedy wrote in his complaint that Bremerton School District “violated my rights to free exercise of religion and free speech by prohibiting my private religious expression and taking adverse employment action against me on the basis of my religion.”

The district has said the law requires its employees to neither endorse nor discourage student-led prayer, and that a coach praying might impose “a degree of coercion” over students.

“It’s my constitutional right to do this,” he told Reuters last month, invoking the freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment. “It’s part of me, it’s who I am. I am not going to hide my faith.”

His complaint, which can open a mediation process, is required by the commission before a person can file a job discrimination lawsuit against an employer.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.